Horrible Histories. Image shows from L to R: Gemma Whelan, Ryan Sampson, Tom Stourton
Horrible Histories

Horrible Histories

  • TV sketch show
  • CBBC / BBC One
  • 2009 - 2022
  • 125 episodes (9 series)

Hit sketch show based on surprising facts from world history, inspired by the hit children's book series. Stars Jim Howick, Simon Farnaby, Ben Willbond, Mathew Baynton, Martha Howe-Douglas and more.

Episode menu

2016 Specials - Sensational Shakespeare

Horrible Histories. Image shows from L to R: Frances (Miles Jupp), William Shakespeare (Tom Stourton), Jessica Ransom. Copyright: Lion Television / Citrus Television
A special episode delving in to the life and times of the world's most famous writer: William Shakespeare.

Preview clips

Further details

Tom Stourton stars as the Bard, as we find out about his humble beginnings, his glove-making father and his early life as an actor. How did he climb to become a royal favourite? And what was it like to be in the audience of one of his plays, where fruit was thrown at the stage, it was illegal for women to act, and there were no toilets?

The episode is a look at the life and times of the playwright William Shakespeare - from his largely unknown and humble beginnings in Stratford, through his times as a jobbing actor in London, to his success as the country's most respected and financially savvy writer. Along the way we meet his gang of London friends - the playwrights, poets and brawlers Marlowe, Jonson and Spenser. We also explore the social history of Britain and the world, and how, if you wanted to avoid the plague, it was important to eat your none-a-day portion of fruit and veg.

This episode has a special guest appearance from Miles Jupp.

Broadcast details

Tuesday 19th April 2016
35 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Friday 22nd April 2016 2:20pm CBBC
Saturday 23rd April 2016 3:00pm CBBC
Thursday 14th July 2016 1:25pm CBBC
Sunday 13th November 2016 2:05pm CBBC
Tuesday 27th December 2016 7:55pm CBBC
Tuesday 3rd January 2017 5:30pm CBBC
Sunday 23rd April 2017 2:25pm CBBC
Friday 16th February 2018 9:20am CBBC
Friday 6th April 2018 4:30pm CBBC
Monday 23rd April 2018 7:00pm CBBC
Sunday 24th June 2018 2:30pm CBBC
Sunday 15th July 2018 4:45pm CBBC
Monday 20th August 2018 9:05am CBBC
Thursday 1st November 2018 6:55pm CBBC
Sunday 11th November 2018 11:05am CBBC
Sunday 3rd February 2019 11:30am CBBC
Sunday 21st April 2019 8:00pm CBBC
Thursday 23rd April 2020 6:55pm CBBC
Friday 23rd April 2021 5:00pm CBBC
Monday 19th July 2021 9:45am CBBC
Friday 23rd July 2021 9:40am CBBC
Friday 3rd September 2021 10:35am CBBC
Sunday 27th March 2022 2:05pm CBBC
Saturday 23rd April 2022 1:40pm CBBC

Cast & crew

Jalaal Hartley Various
Jessica Ransom Various
Natalie Walter Various
Richard David-Caine Various
Gemma Whelan Various
Jon Culshaw Various (Voice)
Louise Ford Ensemble Actor
Dominique Moore Ensemble Actor
John Eccleston Rattus Rattus
Guest cast
Tom Stourton William Shakespeare
Richard Atwill Various
Thom Tuck Various
Mel Giedroyc Publisher
Miles Jupp Frances
Daniel Lawrence Taylor (as Daniel Taylor) Ensemble Actor
Writing team
George Sawyer Writer
Steve Punt Writer
Dave Cohen Writer
Ben Ward Writer
Gerard Foster Writer
Dan Maier (as Daniel Maier) Writer (Additional Material)
Ben Ward Script Editor
George Sawyer Script Editor
Toby Davies Writer
Joe Tucker Writer
Raphael Warner Writer
Lucy Clarke (as Lucy Clark) Writer
Daniel Peak (as Danny Peak) Writer
Daniel Peak (as Danny Peak) Script Editor
Production team
Steve Connelly Director
Tom Miller Series Producer
Lisa Mitchell Producer
Melissa Hardinge Executive Producer
Richard Bradley Executive Producer
Simon Welton Executive Producer
Gareth Heal Editor
Richie Webb Composer
Alison Jeffery Production Designer


Shakespeare at School

See what happens when William Shakespeare visited a modern day school to talk about his writing.

Featuring: Tom Stourton (William Shakespeare).

Shakespeare Quote Alert

William Shakespeare can't even walk down the street without people quoting his work.

Featuring: Jessica Ransom & Natalie Walter.


With the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death approaching, the HH team gather their best bard jokes and return to the Tudor days, when theatre was huge. "It had to be, there wasn't any telly." Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe and Gabriel Spenser delight as bad-boy rappers, while a Gene Kelly-spoofing turn from Miles Jupp centres on an era when people emptied chamber pots out of upstairs windows: "I'm singing in urine."

Jonathan Wright, The Guardian, 19th April 2016

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